By Vincent Ujumadu, Awka
Governor Willie Obiano said that Anambra state had sent more samples for testing, even as six samples tested earlier were negative for the Coronavirus.
In a broadcast in Awka, the governor said his administration was taking necessary preemptive measures even when the state was yet to record any case of the pandemic.
He said: “In Anambra State, we respect our experts. My Commissioner for Health, Dr.
Vincent Okpala has reliably informed me that at this moment in time, our dear state does not have a single recorded case of Coronavirus. Six samples have so far been sent for testing and four of the samples were declared negative. The results of the other two have not been released yet. We have sent three new samples today for testing.”
According to him, the samples were taken from individuals who just returned from any of the countries and cities that have serious COVID-19 cases and who begin to show symptoms of coronavirus, or a situation where someone who had come in contact with people suffering from Coronavirus begins to show symptoms of the pandemic.
Obiano added that his administration had successfully set up a 250-bed isolation center at the NYSC Orientation Camp in Mbaukwu/Umuawulu and another 16-bed isolation centre at the General Hospital, Onitsha, adding that the facilities would be commissioned today.
The governor added: “Learning from the experience of the approaches adopted by France and Lagos in battling this pandemic, we have stockpiled the medicines used in managing outbreaks in both places in case we experience an incident here.
“To ensure that children were not adversely affected by the closure of schools, we have migrated our classrooms to radio, television, and Facebook. A partnership between the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS) and the Ministry of Basic Education is meeting the educational needs of our children with a programme title “Anambra Teaching on Air.”
“Our response to the threat posed by the COVID-19 pandemic is multi-dimensional. We have mounted a massive awareness campaign on all media platforms to enlighten our people on the threat of Coronavirus. We have closed our boundaries with neighboring states and shut down our 63 major markets in Anambra State to flatten the curve on this virus.
“We have set up Isolation Centers and equipped them with facilities that meet WHO standards. And we have also rolled out an economic stimulus package to cushion the effect of steps we have taken against the virus on the most vulnerable members of our communities.
We have commenced the distribution of 200 bags of rice to each of the 181 communities in Anambra State to be distributed among our senior citizens from 70 years and above. In communities where we have more than 200 people within the specified age bracket, the distribution shall start from the oldest to the youngest in the age bracket.
“Beyond that, we have also given a 10% relief on personal income taxes to businesses in Anambra State for the year 2019. This means that if you have been paying your taxes regularly, you will get a 10% refund of the entire sum you paid in 2019. I have no doubt that this will be of great help to businesses in the state.
“We shall soon commence the distribution of 3 million masks residents of Anambra State 181 communities in Anambra. The Igwes and the PGs will assist the government in profiling the tailors in the various communities that will help in mass-producing these masks for distribution to the members of the communities.
Our intention in handing out 3 million masks is to ensure that after the 14-day shutdown of the state, no one will step out of their home without wearing a facial mask. The Czech Republic is relying largely on the heavy use of facial masks to minimize the incidence of Coronavirus in its territory.
These masks shall be made by our own tailors carefully selected from each of the 181 communities of Anambra State. The modalities for the manufacturing and distribution of the masks shall be worked out and announced subsequently.
“We shall also commence the fumigation of the 63 markets in Anambra State while the traders are at home. This will help to reduce the toxicity of the business environment and minimize the exposure of our people to different kinds of infections.
“We are giving a two-month waiver to Keke and shuttle bus operators in the state on the usual permits they pay. The grace period covers the months of April and May 2020. The leadership of the Tricycle Union and the Bus and shuttle bus drivers union have also given a two-month waiver to Keke and shuttle bus drivers.
I hope that this will cushion the sudden fall in their income occasioned by the restricted number of passengers they are expected to carry at a time these days. This is also a part of our economic stimulus package for the vulnerable.”
He commended indigenes of the state and corporate organizations that had donated towards the battle against Coronavirus pandemic.